Archive for September, 2015

Dimensions of change

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

My fifteen-year-old son explains it to me this way: “You guys are old, and you believe things are going to stay the way they are, because that’s how they’ve been. I am completely certain everything about how I live and experience life is going to be totally different when I’m thirty.”

He’s saying this – I think – because he’s reading work from us ‘old guys.’ We’ve created machines that build machines, and planetary intelligences which exceed our own. We have drugs to make us think and feel as we choose. Our capabilities are already beyond our control (and we know this).

Yet here I sit, wondering – of all things – about my retirement income. Only Evan sees how ludicrous this is. I keep telling him, ‘look, all this stuff about qualitative change – surface warming, machine intelligence, the de-coupling of productivity and value, the Balkanization of nation states on a planet with super viruses and myth-driven fanatical killers – all these threats can only be consequential if people figure out how to bring them to market.’

The idea is, there have always been threats and terrors (and the Chicken Littles who keep us contemplative). But as a society, we choose what works, through price determination and competition, and only the successful stuff will be allowed to go forward.

Retirement income is about stock markets, and these ‘always’ go up (after a while). I guess I think they really have at least something to do with what’s going on underneath, but I’m not sure what. I read the ancient history and I wonder if the changes in the world between, say, 1920 and 1940, were as significant as those between, say, 2010 and 2030. I remember John Galbraith’s observation about 1929: “People weren’t surprised the market went down. They were surprised it kept going down.”

(I write this in hopes that, as usual, my printed predictions will be the trigger that starts things moving in the other direction).

What I write about

Friday, September 18th, 2015

All my life I’ve been writing about the same character.

Nothing I think or feel is about who I am. But I come around by thinking and feeling. Boy, do I come around. Quickly I want to be who I am. There’s no way. I’m just thinking and feeling.

I receive the whole world as possibility; as opportunity. It translates into desire, which extinguishes itself.

All my life I’ve been writing about someone who means something; about a friend I’m safe to follow.

Adults look like children to me now. I’m still searching the sky, hoping for what matters.

It’s like this.

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

I see the patterns for, maybe, a thousand possibilities. I have the time for two or three at once. How could I have known it would be like this?

Look what’s happened to my face.

I am here, but I don’t look it. Floating in a sky of similar, unfamiliar billions.

Smiling admirers cluster together for moments, enjoying sunlight and music. The thing in my middle is joyful or sad to the same consequence. The dour critics, like me, go wherever the dancers go.

The thing in my middle is its own creator. Yours, too. We know us as stories we like to hear about others. You are a tale about me.

Talk me into acceptance. Talk me into life. Talk me into a real good time.

(I went dancing last night)